My close friends and competitors…sometimes one in the same…know that I love embellishing my art quilts. Some quilts simply call for embellishments and, when this is true, I use them generously. This subject recently came up in a Facebook conversation and so I thought I would run a series of three or so blog posts, not necessarily one right after the other, on my embellishment techniques. You may have others or your techniques may vary, but these are mine. I’m always looking for new ideas though, so comment freely please.
My love for embelishments started decades ago when I had my own fashion design and tailoring business when I designed and my shop made formals, wedding dresses, and costumes for operas, dancers, and skaters. Back at the beginning of that business, I hand sewed or glued most of my embellishments on. Today I will hand sew some things still, but I use a lot of hot fix crystals and machine techniques that I will talk about in future posts.
When I first started using hot fix crystals years ago I bought one of those wand style irons. I still use it by the way, but I’m thinking of replacing it and maybe I can get one that doesn’t flip off the table and land on the carpet and I have to race to pick it up before it burns it…hoping not to burn myself in the process. It’s supposed to pick up the crystal and you can then place it down, but it never really worked well that way. Sometimes it would pick it up and hold on to it, so I had to get a straight pin and pry it out.
So I started placing the crystal down where I wanted it and placing the wand iron on top of it. If I was lucky, the crystal would end up in the right place (though I found I could move it slightly if I worked quickly enough). Sometimes the wand would flip the crystal out of place like a tiddly wink and it would go spinning through the air landing who knows where. Sometimes I ended up slightly burning the area around the crystal. And sometimes I ended up burning myself trying to prevent all these things.
And THEN, a friend of mine directed me to hot fix transfer tape! What a great invention and what a wonderful improvement to my crystal placements!!! I think it was invented for people who make those crystal designs for people to put on their clothes. But anyway, here are the steps I use with it:
- Put on your music or audiobook.
- Cut a piece of the transfer tape (I use both a smaller cut of around a six inch square and a larger cut of about a 10 inch square. It’s reusable about four or more times.
- Place the item you are embellishing flat on the table or ironing board,
- Working in sections, place your hot fix crystals (or other hot fix embellishments) where you want them
- Remove the backing from the transfer tape.
- Gently and carefully lower your transfer tape piece down over the section of crystals trying not to disturb the pattern and press it down around the crystals and more or less attaching to your project.
- Now here you have a choice. You can either use your regular iron set hot and without steam or the wand iron. I found the wand iron makes the crystals more secure for the most part but takes longer.
- So with the wand iron heat each crystal with the tape still in place for as long as it needs
- tiny ones require about 12 toe taps or slow counts.
- medium ones require about 20 counts
- larger ones require more…30 seconds to 40 counts to be really secure.
The transfer tape acts as a pressing cloth, protecting the fabric to which you are attaching the crystal from burns by the wand. It also holds the crystals in place so they don’t go flipping off into never never land. If it gets just a little out of alignment, you just move the tape…the crystal stays on the tape until it is fully glued down and then releases with no problem. This means you can pick up your tape slowly to check if you’ve missed one or if it needs more time.
Another way to approach it is to place lots of crystals on the tape upside down to the sticky side and just move the tape around and place the crystals on one by one. This is a particularly good method for clothing and other shaped pieces when you are having a hard time getting them flat for crystal placement.
Now if I can only stop my hot wand from falling off the table that would be good. Maybe I can find a new one at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival that I am going to this year with my good friend Mei Ling…I’m so excited. I’ll let you know if my quilt gets in. Will I see you there?
Sew happy everyone! Help each other out, encourage other quilt artists…both the beginners and the very advanced. Even the big winners sometimes need encouragement.
By the way, I have many of my quilts for sale on my website. You can see them here. I really want to go to Houston and keep on writing this blog and that is where the money would go. If you are interested in one of my quilts, contact me at BettyJo@bjfabricartist.com Or, if you just want to help support the continuance of the blog, see the donate button. But please keep reading my blog even if you don’t…I understand.
I don’t have a large number of ribbons from the big shows like some of my quilty friends do, but I do have a few. Several of them center around surface design, color choice, and embellishment. I got to thinking about that recently and I decided that I am really more of a fiber artist than I am a quilter and wondering if that impactsthe ribbon worthiness of my quilts. True, I have struggled to learn the things one must pay attention to as a competition quilter, such as nice square corners and even quilting, but I am far more interested in the overall look of the art of my show work than I am the overall quilting techniques. When i am doing the actual quilting, I might take a more organic freestyle pattern over a more formal design pattern simply because I think it corresponds best to my quilts. One of my quilts recently received “quilting needs to improve” from a judge, when I was thinking it was one of my best results because it looked like the wind to me. Maybe that’s not what they meant. I don’t know. I wish they had said what they meant.
I regard “making a quilt” as an entirely different activity than “making an art quilt” or to the extreme of “making a competition art quilt”. I love warm cuddly love-filled quilts that one can curl up in, drape over a lap, eat a picnic on, give to your pet, or cover your bed with. I enjoy making them. I just would never make one for a competition quilt. Why, you ask? Well, because I am not that good at it. I have been to enough quilt shows to see those fabulous traditional or even contemporary perfections. But I am really good at making a piece of fabric art in the form of a wall quilt. Still, I do make snuggle quilts, but I usually use only piecing and applique and perhaps a little bit of embroidery. My points aren’t always good, and things just never quite look right, but they are fun and pretty.
I love joining my computer art, hand painted art, thread painted art, composition fun, color play, and even my love of history or space together in a piece of quilted art for the wall. In my enthusiasm to get the look I want, I draw from whatever technique I think will work, sometimes resulting in a project with piecing, applique, hand painting, digital art on fabric, thread painting, machine embroidery, quilting, beading, hot fix crystals, and some additional elements on one single piece. Does it work? Well, it works for me, not always for judges, apparently. LOL
Sew what do you think? Is a piece of quilted wall art actually a quilt?
Sew happy everyone! Make that quilted piece you love. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkuh!
I’m working on a new show quilt with a January 23rd deadline. I started it too late, so it will be a bit of a race to finish on time. But the thing is, I am really having fun making it. I am making it mainly so I have something to enter into Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival because I suddenly realized I had nothing for that show and I have already made arrangements to go to it. I won’t be sharing pictures or descriptions about it until after its debut. I put aside the Bayou quilt I am making for a while, because the deadline for it is months later next summer. This new quilt is going together mostly just from my idea and directly on the quilt, because I wanted to keep the design time very short. I just made a concept sketch and plunged in, using fabrics I already had on hand and, surprisingly, I have already made a fair amount of progress. I had an interesting idea for it that required one piece of fabric I didn’t have, so I ordered that. Everything else is on hand. So there you go, I have already greatly shortened my usual design time and eliminated the shopping time for this quilt. This probably means I will finish it, although it is touch and go. I’m keeping anything about what it is like quiet because I want to give it the best chance possible. Now that I have been playing around in the quilting community for a while I find I know a lot of the judges, as is the case for MAQF. They also frequently know my quilts. I’m sure this is true with other show quilters out there. Maybe I can make one that they won’t recognize as mine.
A quilt project like this makes it hard to write blog posts on a regular basis. Additionally, the Bayou quilt also has some restrictions on sharing pictures of it for the most part until completion, at least. Nevertheless, trust me when I say it is all fun right now. I’ve gotten both quilts fairly well started and over some of the beginning problems I had for both of them.
A Question for my readers:
Over the decades I have accumulated a lot of sewing and quilting knowledge. I’ve sometimes thought I am a techniques collector just for the heck of it. LOL. Sew my question to my readers, assuming there are any, is what would you like me to blog about? I can provide some short tutorials, answer how to questions, and talk about quilty things. I will use your responses to write my blogs while I’m working on these two quilts. Please respond.
Sew happy everyone!
I make art quilts now primarily to first show them and then sell them (or give them away). I think that these two goals slightly conflict with each other. I believe most people would find wall quilts wider than about 50 inches just simply too big for most homes or offices today. Normally, smaller is better for sale items. Shows, however, seem to not see it that way, and I kind of understand that, since when they are in the show the impact is increased by the size for the most part. I have been quite surprised, however, when I have made a quilt that is around 50 inches wide, which seems fairly large at home in my studio, and then go to the show to see it in place where it seems really small hanging there. Nevertheless, I think the sizes I end up with are right for the styles and may make them more possible to sell later. So you see, I have a bit of an argument with myself about sizes. Just so you can see, I usually size my quilts to fit within the American Quilting Society’s guidelines because, truly, they are the least flexible. Here are next year’s categories with sizes.
Another consideration is the physical challenge of dealing with large quilts. The older and creakier I get the more difficult I find large bed-sized quilts to make, but it helps that I have a large table for my main machine (Bernina 830LE) and my sit-down longarm (Bernina Q20) with a large table. So I really can work up to about 60 x 60 with no problems. Currently, I am working on my Bayou quilt, which is 60 inches wide and 30 inches long. The original art work I am working with is 30 x 15, so when I enlarged it to a size that would be a good show quilt, I had no choice other than 60 x 30 if I were to keep the aspect ratio the same and meet AQS specifications. Why is that? Well, I want to enter it into AQS Virginia Beach 2018. As you can see, if it is any wider than 60 inches it moves to the large quilts category that has a minimum of 60 inches long. If it is any narrower than 60 inches the length would becomes shorter than the required 30 inches.
Normally, I get the design worked out and decide how I am going to approach making it and then enlarge the design to a showable and saleable size. I kind of aim at 40 to 50 inches wide, which is really a small quilt for most shows, but it also is a nice size for most walls. I might try making a few of the AQS Fiber Art wall quilt sizes this year (24 to 40 inches wide by 24 to 60 inches long). As a matter of fact, most of my Ancient Manuscript series fit within this size, but as you see, not all their shows support this size.
And finally, some consideration must be given to the cost of fabric. If I am making a quilt all in silks, I want to use high quality silk fabric and that is expensive. So smaller is more affordable.
I would love to start a discussion about wall quilt sizes. What sizes do you think are the best, in general, and do you think the shows should set their sizes by specified width and length groups or by either perimeter inches or square inches, which would allow an ancient manuscript that is 27 x 37 into the wall quilt categories that would not be allowed now? Or maybe it doesn’t really matter to you, just so you can make your quilt like you want it. What do you think are the ideal parameters for wall art quilts for home or office?
Sew happy everyone. Make yourself a beautiful piece of fabric art for your wall, or make them for gifts. They make wonderful presents if you know they would fit in the lives of the people you give them to (give that some serious consideration before giving them a quilt). Also, check out my quilts on my website (link at top of this blog). I have revamped my site slightly so you can really see the quilts better. The prices and sizes can also be found there.
I haven’t got any real news for you this week, but I thought you might like to hear my musings about my books and a couple of ideas. I have had a bad cold all week and am beginning to feel better, but it took a lot of energy out of me, so I made almost no progress on anything recently.
Nevertheless, I have not been without some interesting ideas. About the only thing I did all last week was to reorganize my disorganized transcripts for art quilting into more directed and solid projects.
The first book (or is it books?) will be “Art Quilt Basics”, which will focus largely on design, applique, and quilting techniques to help the artist take the ideas floating around their heads and move them into finished wall art quilts. It will be short on design and long on construction techniques and quilting. The quilting section is nearly complete, and the applique section is well along the way. I need to make more samples. Once I get those completed, then I am hoping my son Ken, who does all my quilt photos, can help me get the photos well done, and my son David, who has his own independent publishing company, will help me get it published. Sew I am hopeful this will be complete by late fall just in time for Christmas.
The second book “Surface Design and Embellishment for Art Quilts: Sling That Bling” is basically an outline at this point with loads of concepts in small notes here and there, but I am going to use some of my already completed quilts for most of the pictures, necessitating only a few additional sample items.
Now I know there are lots of books out there about quilt making techniques and surface design and embellishment, but only a few of them seem to focus on realizing a piece of wall art in quilt form. I hope I can provide some original concepts and a place to look when you have an idea but don’t know how to get it from a great idea, or even a good design, to the finished project or need a reference for a technique you may have seen before but need instructions or refreshing.
Anyway, in addition to doing a lot of thinking and some limited work on my books, I have also been doing a lot of thinking about a couple of quilts I am going to make. One of them is to turn into a quilt this piece of fabric I painted digitally and had printed by FabricOnDemand.
I bought some darker blue for the border, which I want to use as a base for an Art Nouveau style border. I have a concept now but I haven’t yet drawn it up. I hope I can get it drawn before the concept poufs away like a soap bubble popping…LOL. I think I can. I’m working on that today.
On Thursday a friend of mine and I are planning on attending Sacred Threads Quilt show, which is only about fifteen minutes from my home. I am excited about that.
Sew happy everyone!
I am enjoying a new fabric adventure into the world of exhibiting of the body of my art quilting work at G Street Fabrics in Rockville, Maryland, which is a two-part exhibit. The first part is in the Bernina section of the store. The second part will start in mid-July and my quilts will be displayed throughout the store. I believe this part will run for an additional two months and I am hoping to complete several new quilts for this part. So in effect, my quilts will be on display from now through August.
Yesterday I took eight of my quilts over to the store for part one. This part includes all three of my Ancient Manuscript quilts, four of my Hoffman Challenge quilts that demonstrate my growth as a quilter from 2008 to 2013, and Dad’s House Plan from 2013. I had such a good time while I was there and am very excited about this two-part exhibit. I am honored that G Street Fabrics wants to do this exhibit for me.
In June, I will be teaching a three hour workshop on quilting there at G Street…primarily free motion quilting but I am also going to briefly talk about quilting with a walking foot. Sometime while my quilts are there I will be providing a walking lecture around the store to talk about my quilts and related things in the store.
G Street is a wonderful store. It is getting better all the time after it clearly moved to save itself from failing. It closed two stores in Virginia to my chagrin and moved from it’s old Rockville location to its new one. The new store is less showy and slightly smaller than the old Rockville one, but I looked over it yesterday and found it has a fine selection of fabrics and notions and seemed busy again. It also has a kind of interesting atmosphere similar to some fabric stores I encountered in New York years ago…not flashy, but full of wonderful things for the sewist, quilter, and fabric artists of all kinds. The Bernina section is in a setting like its own store, and it has a wonderful set of classrooms for teaching. They have a Bernina Q24 longarm set up in the store that is available for in-store rental of time on the longarm. And Lew is the best Bernina tech I have ever encountered over my many years of sewing on Berninas. I encourage you to go pay it a visit if you are ever in the area, or even make a trip there if you are close enough. You can even order from them online.
Sew happy everyone! I hope you can make it to G Street and see my exhibits. I better get to work…I have several new quilts in the works for the second part of the exhibit!
I just came home all inspired by a delightful few days at Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival where I had “Pendragon”. I put together some of my pictures from the show. Here is a link to the picture file: Smugmug/MAQF 17
I stayed a day longer than I usually do for this show and it gave me lots of time to see every quilt, take all four lectures I was interested in and see the Show and Tell that I usually miss. I also did a lot of shopping. Well, afterall, my 70th birthday will be this coming Friday on March 3rd, so I gave myself some presents…threads, new rulers (a set of circles and a set of ovals), and one of those spinning cutting mats among a few additional small items.
Pendragon did not place, but I believe it to be mostly because the theme of the show was modern quilting and that quilt has nothing to say that is even remotely modern quiltish. I still believe it is a ribbon worthy quilt, so we will see what it does in the future. I decided to see if they would include it anyway because I sort of consider MAQF my main show. It is within driving distance and I have relatives in the area, so going there is always a treat for me. I did get some nice comments from the judges:
Your original design effective in telling your story; Embroidery well executed; Piecing well done; Quilting motifs compliments the design; Quilt hangs flat and square; Back of quilt should be free of loose threads and lint” (note: I sticky rolled it and examined it with my big magnifying lamp when I packed it…lint may have happened on their end. That backing fabric I used was a little lint grabbing…not using that again).
A New Page Is Turned
Now, however, I am turning a page on my work. From here I am focusing on the quilt work itself, and on figuring out how to pass on what I have learned even as I maintain my studio artist status (not a lot of travel, a little teaching within driving distance, writing books and creating tutorials), rather than so much focus on the competition work. I will still enter shows, and still plan on making show quilts (they teach me a lot and give me a chance to stretch my work), but it’s an attitude and work flow adjustment in my studio that is on this nice new page in my life. You can see more about this in one of my past blogposts here.
There are lots of definitions of “antique”. The one I like the best for this discussion is “an object such as … a work of art that has a high value because of its considerable age.” Tomorrow (Friday, March 3rd), I will be 70 years old. I am a work (in progress) maybe even a “work of art” and have considerable age. I think every human being has high value…so there you are. I could probably be called “an antique” fabric artist. I feel physically great (have also lost some weight recently and hope to lose more) and I believe I am as mentally alert as ever (always a little daphy). Many of my ancestors lived well into their hundreds. I have a wonderful plan for my future and my kids are nearby. My studio is well stocked, and my fleet of machines is wonderful and in good working order. I’m excited about the future. Thank the good Lord and I hope you will continue to join me on my quilting journey.
One of the things I am going to begin on this blog post is a regular short tutorial (every week or month?). This week’s tutorial is answering a question I got a lot at the show…how I made the chain mail on my characters in Pendragon using Bernina v7. I haven’t yet gotten v8, but I suspect this would work there also.
Digitizing Chain Mail for Small Applique (Or using special fills to create what you want)
I wanted to make the characters’ chain mail shirts look right, and decided the best approach was to digitize the chain mail in my Bernina v7 software and embroider it in the hoop. This took me a while to discover how to do it. I think I spent two or three days on figuring this out, but I just did a chain mail heart shape and took snap pictures for this tutorial all in about three minutes. So I thought I’d share this with you in case you wanted to create something special with interesting fills and shapes. Using Bernina v7 software:
- Draw a closed shape…you can put the picture in the art canvas side and trace it on the embroidery side
- Right click on the object and bring up the Object Properties dialogue box.
- I had to turn my shirts upside down and move them around to get the wave fill to match where the parts of the wave needed to be to show the expansion and contraction of the chain…like a shirt on a beautifully muscled knight. 😀 I also gave each shirt their own color to help me figure out which belonged where when complete. I embroidered them all in Superior Fantastico 5169..a silvery variegated gray on black fabric. I cut them out close to the embroidery and glued them on with Roxanne basting glue and blanket stitched the edges in the same thread to give them a finish.
So there you are. I can see this method working for a wide variety of appliques and purposes. The software is so flexible, but finding out how to do something you want to do that is a little different can take time.
On Upcoming Events:
- For the month of May and a couple of weeks into June, G Street Fabrics in Rockville, Maryland, is hosting an exhibit of my quilts. I will have one day where I will provide a walking lecture tour of my approximately 15 quilts that will be placed around the store. I’ll let you know when that is.
- In June, I will be providing a workshop on machine quilting at G Street.
- My quilt “Drawing Nigh” will be at AQS in Lancaster, PA, March 20-April 1. If you attend and see my quilt, let me know.
Sew happy everyone. Focus on your creative projects to have the most fun, put in your best effort, learn a little bit, and share, and don’t let it stress you out. I would really appreciate comments.
I promised you I would write some posts about the making of Pendragon after it was accepted into its debut quilt show. Pendragon will be shown in the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival on Feb 23-26. I am so excited because I am planning on attending this show. When you read this post, I will probably be there, since I am setting this up for posting on the day I leave for the show. Because of this, I can finally reveal the finished quilt picture.
I actually made a few small changes since this picture was taken. There was some stitching that went on a downhill decline under the lower left of the pictorial center on the top of the black text box. I spent a whole day frogging (ripping out the stitching) of about five inches of decorative stitching and restitching it. It was worth it. I think it was the only thing that would stand in the way of a judge who likes the design deciding it is a good quilt. I’m not sure you can see it here on this web-sized picture, but I also added some interesting quilting below the text in the block. I had to enlarge the text box just a bit to make the borders I made fit just right.
So here is a web-sized picture of the design that Ken gave me for my birthday last year, along with the threads and fabrics. I blogged about this gift here. He gave me the throne room background in a separate full-sized file without banners or people or the table, which I had printed on cotton by Spoonflower.
You can see there are some differences. The banners are all a little different, the text box is longer than the one shown here to make everything fit together, and the border designs, which were a huge challenge, all have slight differences. Also, there were three more swords pointing on the table from off-picture knights that I eliminated.
So first of all, I sent out the thrown room to be printed, as I said, and then I tried to dye the prepared for dye cotton/silk radiance he gave me to get that nice rich dark green for the Celtic borders. It came out a very pretty color, but not dark enough. Here’s a picture of the fabric. It will make a wonderful green for another quilt, so it isn’t a lost effort (I’m thinking a whole cloth pictograph).
So I talked to some of my quilting friends, particularly Jerry Granata, who has one specialty of working in unusual fabrics, and bought some (much less expensive) poly satin of exactly the right color of dark emerald green and did some testing. That is what I ended up using. I also had some green cotton of the right color that I used to work out the design and way to achieve the Celtic border designs on. Quilters, I will tell you that getting these borders worked out was one of the biggest challenges of my entire fabric arts career. I wrote a little about it in previous blogs: One and two and three.
After that, I decided it would be best for me to withhold additional photos and construction information until it actually debuts at its first show, which will be the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival in just a week. I’m so excited. I decided to go to the show, not only because Pendragon got in, but so many of my quilting friends and mentors will be there. I’m not taking any classes, but I am going to attend several lectures, try to spend some time with my friends, do some quilt gazing and shopping, and stand by my quilt a bit even if it doesn’t place. And it may not place. I love it, but it does incorporate digitally printed fabrics, which is not an altogether accepted method yet, and I am all too aware that my quilting is not traditional in any way and needs to grow. I plan on showing it as much as I can over the next couple of years regardless of the reception by the judges just because it is a meaningful quilt that I want people to see. When it finally comes home for its retirement, I plan on giving it to Ken if he wants it. I am thinking it will also be at my exhibit of my quilts at G Street Fabrics in April or May (I’ll give you the dates when I get them).
Anyway, back to the making of the quilt. I loved the way the people came out mostly. I particularly like the queen. Her dress is a small print with gold that I outlined all the little flowers with gold thread quilting. I used a matching sheer for the sleeves and actually made tiny sleeves for her arms. All their hair is free motion thread work. The guys’ tabards and the little banners all have machine embroidered designs. The little banners are independent banners that I made, then hand stitched on top of the quilt.
I digitized the mens’ chain mail shirts using some of the powerful software in Bernina V7. It was a fun challenge and took me several days to make it come out with the appropriate differences that fit their bodies. Then it was embroidered on black and after applique I added some free motion chain work around them to make them look more real and smooth some of the joinings. The swords were so challenging to figure out that (after much consideration and discussion with Ken and Beth) I ended up printing the digital design of the swords from Ken’s design and appliqueing them on with monopoly. Getting the hands properly tucked around the handles was a bit of a challenge, but in the end, I was happy with the swords. I added black crystals on King Arthur’s sword. The crowns are free motion stitching using metallic threads with the addition of hot fix crystals.
All the quilting of the throne room was done with the idea of bringing out a 3D concept. I am generally happy with that result.
Then I faced the challenge of piecing it together. The border was in pieces and had to match up square and with the pictorial center. I should have had the throne room printed slightly larger, because by the time it was quilted and squared up, it was a bit smaller than the intended design. I dealt with this by adding a bit of black below the text box (to make up for the lengthwise shrinking), where I placed some quilting designs, and slightly narrowing the top and bottom small Celtic border pieces (to make up for the crosswise shrinking). But in the end, after a few bits of frogging and restitching, it actually came out very square and flat. I was ecstatic. Getting quilts square and flat, especially my art quilts that have so many different types of techniques, stitching, painting, etc, is a huge challenge every time. This one worked. I used my laser devices (a laser square and a laser cross hair lamp) to help get it square. If the judges measure it, and it doesn’t get shifted in any way in the transport and hanging, they will find it a square quilt.
I used Quilters Dream thin poly batting and Hobbs wool batting. I ended up using 6 titanium top stitch needles on this quilt…I think the gold paint dulled the points quicker. Constructed on my Bernina 830LE and quilted on my Bernina Q20. All Superior threads (variety of weights and colors).
Sew happy everyone! Will I see you at MAQF? Do you have any questions?
Whew! You haven’t heard from me here for a while because I was finishing making the quilt my son Ken designed for me to add to my Ancient Manuscript series in a marathon of quilt making and got my entry into the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival (MAQF) just under the wire of the deadline. This quilt is a tribute to King Arthur and the knights of the round table and is now named “Pendragon“. I have been working nearly full time on this quilt since last March, with just a few breaks here and there. Without question it was the most difficult quilt I’ve ever made, but I was so happy to make it and am quite happy with its outcome. I made this quilt for the love of my son, but I am going to enter it as extensively as possible in quilt shows so my friends and other quilt lovers can see it. I will be posting photos of this quilt sometime in February along with a short series of blog posts on making the quilt.
I had planned on entering Drawing Nigh into MAQF, but it unexpectedly got into AQS Lancaster, and so will not be available for MAQF.
Today, I’m sewing the rod pocket and label onto Pendragon, and trying to rest my creaking quilting muscles. No one will ever convince me that intense quilting like this is not something of a sport…it requires practice, muscles, sweat, blood, tears, and determination, and a marathon of such quilting leaves me tired and a bit achy…but I’ll recover.
Sew next I will be working on several less taxing quilts to go into my exhibit at G Street Fabrics in Rockville in the spring. It should be really fun and I can provide photos of those along the way.
Sew happy everyone! Will I see you at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival?
I have made some adjustments in my thinking about my fabric art direction over the last few months that will lead to my putting less focus on competition art quilting and more on the adventure of making art as fabulous as I can. You may not see much difference, because I probably will continue to enter some of my work into shows, but the emphasis in my studio and in my mind is more on the art work and less on the show work.
I am very excited about this because I have so many things I want to try to make and I want to share with you, gentle readers, what I learn along the way.
This new direction came about because two quilts of mine that I know are quite show worthy and people would emjoy seeing them, were both rejected from Road to California 2017. That puzzled me (I have several theories about this, but I won’t share them here). They are wonderful quilts and deserved to be in the show. Here they are:
Yes, I know all the things that are said about this by friends trying to comfort me (I am not upset, by the way. It is a good thing that helped me think I needed to move in new directions)…”make what you love”, “even if they are rejected it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your quilt”, “they probably had too many in that category”, and so on. I appreciate it. But think about this: It costs money to enter a show, and my desire when I enter is chiefly to share my quilts with people.
If I win something it is icing on the cake, so not to get into a show is really harder for me to take than not placing. I used to clearly understand it if my quilt was rejected, since I was such a junior quilt maker and I could see the problems in the quilts myself. But my recent quilts are flat, square, quilted well, full of impact, individual, good designs, and worthy of sharing.
So I have decided to loosen my focus on shows a bit and look for new ways to share my quilts, sell my quilts, and share what I have learned (books, classes within driving distance, this blog, and so forth). I am having an exhibit of my quilts next spring at G Street Fabrics in Rockville. I still will try to get some quilts in if I think they fit well in a particular show, because that is the best way to share them with more people. But that will not be my focus for making a new quilt. I have so many quilts I want to make…fabric and thread experiments I want to try…digital to fabric experiments…and embellishment and applique adventures I want to go on. Without having to worry about the judges, I will have more freedom (though they will all still be made to show quality). It is so exciting.
I am currently working on my wonderful oldest son Ken’s design he gave me for my birthday in March. This quilt has taken me longer in actual hours than any other quilt so far. I have at last completed the central pictorial theme this week, made all the special border pieces and the text box. I only have to cover a tiny cord for inclusion in the quilt and I will be putting together all the pieces of the top very soon. I already have figured out how I am going to quilt it once I get it to that stage, and with my wonderful new Bernina Q20 (Fritz), I expect that to go well and faster than past quilts. I am hoping to get that into Houston next fall, since it’s always been intended as a show quilt, and if I do, I will hope to attend the show myself.
In addition to the creation of fabric art, I am planning on blogging several series of how-tos like my recent five-parter here, including one with a few months of a step-of-the-month project. I will be teaching some classes at G Street Fabrics in Rockville next year, and will be looking for other nearby possibilities for workshops (I don’t like to fly). I will finally finish writing the three books I already have been working on (Applique for fabric artists, Embellishment and surface design, and Quilting for art quilts) to be published by Fennec Fox Press (my youngest son’s small publishing company).
Sew happy everyone! Join me in this exciting new adventure in 2017!